Pasco neighborhood to be all aglow Dec. 18

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writer December 10, 2010 

More than 25,000 points of lights will map out this year's luminaria celebration Dec. 18 at Desert Plateau in Pasco.

"This is a wonderful family-friendly celebration of the holiday season," said Larry Brockman, a volunteer. "We invite the entire Tri-Cities to join us and see what is really an amazing display and an example of what neighbors can do when they get together."

Thousands of white paper bags with burning candles sitting in sand on the inside will be lit at 6 p.m. outside homes between Burden Boulevard and Argent Road in the Pasco Desert Plateau neighborhood.

The luminaria, which began 24 years ago, has become a favorite family event, said volunteer Terry Maurer, who also is a longtime resident of Desert Plateau.

"The luminaria tradition started with just a handful of neighbors who wanted to do something special to mark the season," he said. "Originally, it was always scheduled for the night of the winter solstice, but has changed over the years to being the Saturday evening before Christmas."

And weather doesn't put a damper on the event.

"This has been done in all kinds of weather -- snow, subfreezing temperatures and even thick fog," Maurer said. "It was almost surreal to see the display in the fog five or six years ago. The thing we dread most from the weather is rain. Makes the bags soggy and can put out the candles."

Besides the candle light, nearly 900 homes also will be brightly decorated, making the drive through the neighborhood an eye-catching event.

Also planned are a visit from Santa and his elves, who will be passing out candy canes as he strolls through the neighborhood. There also will be carolers roaming about singing traditional and sacred holiday songs.

Organizers say many people may prefer to make the slow drive through the neighborhoods, but the best way is to walk, Maurer said.

There is ample parking available at James McGee Elementary School, 4601 Horizon Drive, in the heart of the display area, he added.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;

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